Creamy Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Caramelized Onions, Bacon & Apples

When I was a little kid, I LOVED and I mean really really loved, eat it twice a week, two bowls at a time, Macaroni & Cheese. Now, I’m not talking about the homemade variety. I’m talking about the good old fashion, powdered cheese, Kraft variety. I could not get enough of the stuff. And if I’m being honest, I used to buy this all the time in college too πŸ™‚

But then, I grew up. And learned to cook and realized how absolutely nasty (in theory) powdered cheese in. Sadly, in practice the stuff still tastes good…but I digress.

My mom also made mac & cheese, the homemade variety, when I was a little kid. I hated it. It was grainy and I thought that was simply disgusting. Blech. Sorry mom. I love you!!

Here’s the thing about creamy M&C, most CREAMY M&C recipes have Velveeta in them… not much better (health/whole food-wise) than the powdery alternative.

Enter this recipe.

I was inspired by this recipe and also drew on Alton Brown’s expertise to create the creamy factor.

Here’s my combined version

  • 1 medium butternut squash (when baked, yield 1-2 c. squash)
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter + 2 tsp butter
  • 1 lb package pasta noodles
  • 1/2 can (6oz) evaporated milk (I used the full-fat kind, save the other 1/2 can)
  • 1 package of cream cheese (8oz) (I used full fat)
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 8-10 oz cheddar cheese (I shredded it myself to make sure it was creamy!)
  • 8 pieces bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 2 large apples (honey crisp or other crunchy semi-sweet variety), diced

For squash: Cut in half, scrap out the seeds & pulp. Put 1 tsp of butter in the hollowed out place on each side. Bake, covered, at 400 for approx 40-50 min until fork tender. This time could vary dramatically based on the size of your squash. Just keep checking it.

For onion: slice and caramelize over low heat in a pan with 2 Tbsp butter. This will take 20-30 minutes.

For the sauce: in a food processor, combine the squash pulp (I pulsed this alone a few times to really break it up), 1/2 can evaporated milk, hot sauce, salt, & cream cheese. Blend until fully incorporated. Add in 2 eggs. Pulse till just mixed.

To combine: Boil pasta till al dente. Drain & put back in the sauce pan off the heat.Β  Then add in the sauce. Stirring constantly to combine so as not to scramble eggs. Then immediately stir in shredded cheddar cheese and turn the heat on the stove to low/med. Stir continously for approx 3 min until the cheese is melted and the sauce thickens slightly.

To serve: Top with cooked, crumbled bacon & apples.

I left the bacon & apples out of the “big dish” so that the leftovers would be fresh & amazing. They were. Also, this is totally kid approved (well, minus the onions but Pax just picked around those!) πŸ™‚

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2 Comments

Filed under Main Course, Pasta

2 responses to “Creamy Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Caramelized Onions, Bacon & Apples

  1. Lauren

    question: you say to scoop out the pulp and seeds, then you bake the squash, but then you said to put the pulp in the food processor. Do you mean the baked squash and you just scrape it out? (I’m guessing you don’t mean the pulp you took out from before b/c then what would be the purpose of the baked squash). I’ve never cooked squash, so maybe this is just my own lack of familiarity?? :o) Sounds yummy!

    • Steve & Brit

      Hey! Sorry to be unclear πŸ™‚ So when you first cut the butternut squash in half (long-wise) there is this stringy/seedy pulp. You scrap that out (kind of like a pumpkin). Then you bake it (covered with aluminum foil is better) until the whole thing feels super squishy when you squeeze it from the outside (kind of like you’d do for a baked potato). You want them to be VERY very soft. Then you let them cool for a short time and scrap out all of the actual squash part (leaving the skin/shell) into the food processor.
      Hope that helps!! πŸ™‚

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